Monday, September 30, 2013

As-Is Contracts and Buying a Sarasota Foreclosure

Some current customers of mine have an accepted offer on a bank owned foreclosure.

All foreclosure contracts are as-is with right to inspect, meaning the buyer is accepting the property in it's current condition at the time of the offer.  The buyer has the right to have a home inspection to discover any potential hidden defects, not readily visible to the buyer, that may affect the value of the property or may cause the buyer to spend more money than planned on repairs.

Most as-is contracts specifically state how much money a bank will spend on repairs.  This number is usually $0.00.  This was the case with the contract for these buyers.

I discovered water damage in the home due to an apparent roof leak, while performing a service to the buyers by taking a video walk-through of the property and providing detailed pictures of the interior and exterior.  I discovered this damage during the inspection period negotiated in the contract.

At this point in the purchase process, the buyer has some options:

1) Withdraw their offer to purchase, since the bank has already specified in writing they will make no repairs, or;
2) Get estimates for repair of the damage, and re-negotiate a purchase price with the bank.  In this case, we would have to extend the inspection period to allow time to get the appropriate repair estimates, or;
3) Wait for the mortgage lender to appraise the property, with the water damage, and see if the appraised value is less than the purchase price.  The bank may agree to a lower price price, or the buyers can withdraw their offer based on their inability to get a mortgage due to the appraisal.

Part of my service to out of town buyers is being their eyes and ears, especially during the escrow period.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Choosing an Agent on Trulia Voices

I participate in an online real estate forum called Trulia Voices.  On this forum, potential buyers and sellers can ask local real estate experts questions about buying or selling a home.

I find this is an excellent way to establish knowledge and services versus competing real estate agents.  I am constantly reminding myself to pay attention like a laser to exactly what a potential customer is asking about and provide a concise answer, whether online or in person.

This doesn't always occur on Trulia.

Recently a potential home buyer asked:  "I would would like an opinion on Lakewood Ranch vs. Grand Palm, and Ventura Village."  You can read the post and thread here:

Contrary to what one of my colleagues says on this thread, there's absolutely nothing wrong with answering this question.  Realtors can give opinions about neighborhoods if those opinions are not based on any federally protected class, such as marital status, race or national origin, sexual preference, etc.

My opinion happens to be that Lakewood Ranch is being subjected to suburban sprawl, increasing traffic congestion, and that many Lakewood Ranch areas have CDD fees on top of property taxes.  Lakewood Ranch isn't near any beach.

Grand Palm and Ventura Village are new home communities in much-quieter Venice, that are close to the downtown Venice core, and just minutes to Venice Beach or Manasota Key beaches.

Fun fact:  It's about the same amount of drive time to downtown St. Petersburg from Lakewood Ranch, as it is to the Siesta Key public beach.  Check it out on Google Maps.

If you are looking to hire an agent to buy or sell a home in the Sarasota, FL, I encourage you to browse Trulia Voices and compare real estate agents.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Latest Sarasota Area Best Deals

I've just updated with the latest properties available for sale.

The updates include:

  • Two newer homes in North Port, ready for tenants, on city water and septic;
  • A fantastic deal in Venetian Golf and River Club, priced at 1/3 of what it sold for at the height of the market;
  • An incredible rare opportunity in The Landings with 4 bedrooms, 4200 sq ft, and heated pool, selling at 75% of its last sales price in 2005.

These will go fast.  Schedule a showing now to see these great deals!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Search Engine Optimization Companies

I hope some of my fellow Realtors read this post.

I am contacted all the time by search engine optimization companies (SEO's) who have somehow managed to find my pitiful "low ranked website"  They promise to miraculously improve my search engine results and save me hard earned marketing dollars.


I've been using Google Adwords for over 10 years and I'm Google Certified.  These SEO's are preying on Realtors and their practices can actually hurt your website and your business.

Here's some myths and facts:

1)  Myth:  Your website needs to be on the first page.   Fact:  In the real estate business, most of the natural (unpaid, also called organic) links are for major national advertisers such as Re/Max, Trulia, Zillow, Keller Williams, etc.  If someone is searching for local results, they most likely have to go to page 2 3 or 4.  Don't waste your money competing with the large national companies.

2)  Myth:  Your home page (such as needs to be on page 1.  Fact: People do not need to click on your home page first to find the results they are looking for.  What are buyers or sellers searching for?  Estimated closing costs?  Neighborhood reviews?  Listings for specific neighborhoods they can't find on public MLS sites?  Understand your customer and give them what they want.  I have created over 90 landing pages for specific content for Sarasota home buyers and sellers.

3) Myth:  Organic links (natural links) are better than paid (cost per click/CPC/right side of the page ads).  Fact:  A recent study proves that CPC ads provide more relevant content and are clicked on 66% of the time, when both a CPC and organic ad appears on the same page.  You need BOTH organic and CPC links for success.

4) Myth:  Owning a lot of different websites means you will have more success.  Fact:  Each website competes for limited space on the search engine results.  Owning multiple websites means you are competing against yourself for clicks and traffic.

I am happy to advise fellow Realtors outside my service area on Google Adwords and relevant website content your competitors are lacking.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Fascinating Sarasota Home Insurance Statistics

According to a Miami Herald article, when Citizen's Insurance sends out it's monthly customer bills, only 31 percent of them go to the same address that is insured.

I've been saying for months that our current real estate recovery is driven by out of town and international buyers, paying cash for properties that have until recently been priced at half what they sold for at the height of the real estate boom of 2004 and 2005.

The rest of the article then delves in to the pluses and minuses of wealthy investors taking advantage of below-market taxpayer subsidized homeowner's insurance.  That's another blog post and a discussion of politics that I try to avoid.  Suffice to day, without our international and out of state friends investing in FL real estate, our overall economy would not be experiencing the recovery we are seeing today.

Read the entire article here:

Monday, September 9, 2013

Sarasota Real Estate Investment

Everybody is reading how Sarasota is a great place to invest in real estate.

And that's the problem that stops many people from actually investing here.

Casual investors don't realize we are transitioning to a seller's market, and most properties under $150K will be multiple offer scenarios.  These investors also don't realize they have little time to make a decision once a property comes on the market.  Lowball offers have zero chance of being accepted.

For investors who are skittish about multiple offers, my suggestion is to contact me about opportunities in other parts of our market that are lesser known.  Rental demand is strong across the three county area I serve (Sarasota, Manatee/Bradenton, and Charlotte Counties).  

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Investment Property in Sarasota

One of the things I find when working with new investors or casual real estate investors is that they are not familiar with current rental rates.

The rental demand in the Sarasota area is strong.  I am also recommending that investors consider the Venice area as well.  It's off the radar for most.  The buy in is a bit lower and the rental rates are similar to Sarasota.

A good place to look at what's happening in our rental market is to check out Craig's List:

It's time to get in the market!  Read more on my website: